What are the best electric and gas pool heaters for above ground pools? What are the best pool heaters for above ground pools in terms of efficiency, overall cost, reliability and ease of use? Which electric and gas pool heaters are right for you?
Best Pool Heaters
1. Hayward H-Series 150,000 BTU Natural Gas Residential Pool and Spa Heater, Model H150FDN
The design makes this heat pump easy for a professional to install and has a flexible design that makes it fit almost anywhere. You can install it with water and electricity coming in from either side. At 21 inches wide, it fits in areas that the higher BTU Hayward pool heaters won’t. (It is less than 2/3 the width of the H400FDN model, for example.)
It meets low NOx emissions standards. This unit can be bought by home owners in areas under tight air quality standards such as Los Angeles, California and other areas subject to strict rules to minimize smog. The forced draft combustion system results in an evenly maintained temperature no matter the weather conditions outside, which is an improvement over the standard, stable temperatures other gas pool heaters offer. It has accurate temperature controls and maintains a temperature set point with a minimum of fuel.
Its Cupro nickel heat exchanger has above average resistance to corrosion. This pool heat pump resists corrosion from salt water and poorly maintained pool chemistry.
The only downside is that getting Hayward to service it under the warranty can be a challenge, especially if you bought it online instead of through a Hayward dealer. You may have to get it serviced, pay for the service, and then file paperwork with Hayward and hope you get your money back.
2. Raypak 133000 BTU Titanium Digital Heat Pump – Above Ground Pool Heater, Model 013331
This is the best electric heat pump pool heater on the market for those who want to balance initial cost with operational costs. Its high efficiency design gives it a lower operating cost, too. The electric heat pump design makes it five to six times more efficient than a simple electric pool heater.
The four port base four configuration makes this one of the best pool heaters to install if you don’t know how you’re going to install it. Whether you install it by the pool pump or on the deck, it can go almost anywhere.
It has marine grade nickel in the heat exchanger. This electric pool heater is designed for above ground pools but can be used with smaller in ground pools, too. One of the common uses for it is to keep your spa or hot tub warm. The large coils and fin design makes it almost as good as a gas powered above ground pool heaters because it can run in 45°F weather when its rivals will freeze up literally.
One of the benefits of this pool heat pump is that it works with almost any remote control system. Whether you want to replace your existing heat pump and keep the familiar remote or install this electric pool heat pump and buy the best remote controls on the market, the Raypack will work with all of them. And finding service is rarely the issue it is with Hayward pool heat pumps if you need work done under warranty.
This pool heater has a durable steel cabinet that is much more protective than the plastic poo heater cabinet used on the Hayward models.
Its Copeland scroll compressor is both quiet and reliable, something improved by the sound isolation pads around the unit. As a heat pump, it needs to be installed by a licensed HVAC professional for the labor portion of the warranty to be honored by the manufacturer.
And this is the only heat pump on this list that doesn’t require a gas connection, making it perfect for setting up on a new deck with an above ground pool or hot tub without having to arrange for a new gas pipe. You’ll get your new pool heater installed almost as fast as the pool itself and be ready to use it immediately.
The titanium heat exchanger tolerates harsh pool chemistry and saltwater pool water.
3. Hayward Universal 400,000 BTU Natural Gas Residential Pool and Spa Heater, Model H400FDN
This model’s very high 400,000 BTU rating means it will heat up your pool in record time using relatively little natural gas. You can use the bypass valve to reroute the water so the unit can be serviced quickly.
The low NOx in the title refers to the very low nitrous oxide emissions of this gas pool heater. It not only meets air quality standards but exceeds them, making this above ground pool heater legal in low NOx regions like California and Texas.
One of the limitations of this pool heater is that at 36 inches wide it may not fit where a smaller, narrower existing pool pump sits. It does share the Hayward universal design that lets it go anywhere you already have a Hayward installed, and Hayward offers connectors so that you can upgrade easily between their pool heat pumps and pool heaters. The standard Hayward design is a 2 inch x 2 inch water connection with a three quarter inch wide gas connection at the heater. One of the benefits of this model is that it allows for left side and right side electric, gas and water connections, so as long as you have the space for it, you can install it without having to re-plumb or re-wire the area. Hayward offers a number of connector replacement kits for a reasonable price in the rare case the standard connections aren’t sufficient.
It has a one year warranty for parts and labor if installed by a professional, and like other Hayward pool heaters, getting Hayward to service it under the warranty can be a challenge.